Of all the days of the year, no doubt my favorite throughout my life has been the day of the Running of the Roses. It’s Springtime, and things are budding and getting green and the birds are migrating in full breeding plumage, with most singing up a storm as they head north. And on this day, it’s the best young horses in the world racing in one of the most popular sports events in the country.
For me, it just doesn’t get any better than this. While I have fond memories of being in the infield during past Derby Days, it really is just as much fun hanging around the house tracking down warblers, and then handicapping a winner before the race begins late in the afternoon.
Today, I picked the winner, Orb! And I can prove it! My sister, who is well aware that her brother used to be into race racing big time, texted me to see if I had picked a winner. Here’s the text snapshot:
There was a time when I thought I can actually make money handicapping horses; when I lived in San Marino, California, I was ten minutes away from one of the best tracks in the country, Santa Anita. I would work every Saturday morning, then head out to the track mid-afternoon and try to catch the feature race, which was often a Grade I or Stakes race. It was high-end horse-racing, and I was into it.
But thank God I came to realize that unless you live at the track, and have access to all the inside scoop around the stables and during the early morning workouts, you were at a major disadvantage. And I also concluded just how much ‘luck’ played into the way a race unfolded. You can get sucked into thinking you can figure it out, with all the Internet access now to databases and charts and previous race videos, ad infinitum (remember when it was just The Daily Racing Form?), but at the end of the day, it’s a crapshoot.
But I still feel pretty good when I pick a winner!